Spring, TX – Two men were killed after a driverless Tesla crashed into a tree in Spring, Texas.
According to Click2Houston, investigators from Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman's office investigated a crash that occurred at 11:25 p.m. near 18 Hammock Dunes Place in the Carlton Woods subdivision. Investigators believe the Tesla was traveling at a high rate of speed when it crashed into a tree.
Two men were found in the vehicle with no one driving. It is believed the Tesla was being operated on autonomous mode. Relatives of one of the deceased men indicated the owner of the vehicle may have jumped into the back seat to test the driverless function but crashed a few hundred yards away from his house.
After the accident, the Tesla caught on fire and continued to burn for about four hours due to the vehicle's batteries continually re-igniting. Authorities had to call Tesla to ask how to extinguish the flames.
The investigation is ongoing.
What Is An Autonomous Vehicle?
Driver error, such as inexperience, driver distraction, or driver inattention, are often the common causes of accidents that lead to serious injuries and death. In effort to minimize, or even eliminate, tragic accidents, manufacturers have started developing autonomous vehicles. An autonomous vehicle is a technologically advanced motorized vehicle that can operate within its environment without the need for human involvement. In other words, a self-driving car.
Technology already exists for autonomous features, such as automatic braking or lane drifting detection, but a fully autonomous vehicle hasn't been developed. Human involvement isn't only necessary in operating a vehicle, it's also required.
What Are The Types Of Autonomous Vehicles?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has designated six levels of automation:
No automation. Driver performs all driving tasks.
Driver Assistance. Driver controls the vehicle but has some driving assist features.
Partial Automation. Vehicle has automated functions, but the driver is still engaged.
Conditional Automation. Driver is not needed, but has to be ready to take control.
High Automation. Vehicle is capable of all driving tasks in certain environments and driver has option to take control.
Full Automation. Vehicle is capable of all driving tasks under all circumstances. Driver still retains option to take control.
Who Is Responsible In An Autonomous Vehicle Accident?
Since fully autonomous vehicles are not yet a reality, the individual who had the responsibility to operate the vehicle according to manufacturer guidelines would likely be held liable under Texas negligence laws. To prove negligence, you must show the following:
- The Defendant owed a legal duty to you;
- The Defendant did something wrong, or failed to do something, that breached the duty; and
- The breach of the legal duty was the proximate cause of your injury.
In the event the operator of the autonomous vehicle was operating the vehicle, and a malfunction occurs, the manufacturer would be potentially liable for the accident. Malfunctions can occur in a number of instances and require a detailed investigation as to the cause of the crash.
HRSLawyers.com posts these articles to keep the Greater Houston community informed about traffic accidents and other news. These blog posts are not intended to give legal advice. However, if you or a loved one has been involved in a similar accident and need help from an experienced personal injury lawyer, contact the Spring, TX Personal Injury Lawyers at Hernandez Redden Sunosky, LLP. Our lawyers can help you find answers and obtain monetary compensation for any lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.
Categories: Autonomous Driving Accident; Personal Injury; Wrongful Death
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